Realistic drawings of nature is a common motif that holds a lot of value to your audience. Since there are unlimited ways to draw nature, here are just some of the common nature drawings or subjects that you can practice on and explore at your leisure.
Look at common landscape like mountains, forests, deserts, and oceans. These are some of the common textures that you can explore. Expanding on that, you can study up on weather effects, flora textures, and then use these ideas to create your own fantasy nature drawings.
In terms of techniques, these vary from each element and can involve many different steps. For example, motion blurring filters can create rain while cloud filters can create fog. We will go over some of the simple things that you can do to create these textures and effects.
While it may look overwhelming at first, just breaking down and planing on how to create these natural textures will go a long way into creating convincing nature drawings. Even then, anything can be drawn by blocking in textures with a chalk brush and then filling in the little details.
Mountains can take some time to draw but the basic idea remains. First, you block out one mountain shape. Then, draw in light to show snow. From there, duplicate and manipulate the textures of that one mountain to form an entire mountain range.
Forests also use this method as well. However, the biggest change would be to splatter leaves on trees as a method to quickly create foliage. After that, the same principle applies in that you can start duplicating and manipulating a few well drawn trees to create a forest.
On the other side of the fence, deserts will require a bit more control. Since there are patterns in the sand dunes, it usually is easier to manually draw in in these waves. The trick here is to create one background value and use a lighter value to draw in the waves.
Water also use this waving technique. On top of creating larger waves, you will need to draw in very controlled 'peaks' in the wave using a much lighter value to show natural waves. This is usually done with squiggly lines using very small brushes.
The idea of drawing fog is more related to not drawing every detail in the landscape. Instead, use light values to suggest landscape textures. Some blurring or smudge may be necessary to blend different values together.
On the other hand, ice requires more details to be drawn in with smaller brushes. After that, sharpening the textures will create even more fine lines that give off suggestion of ice. You can use a sharpening filter to sharpen the entire composition or use the sharpen tool for targeted areas.
Rain and precipitation will require a bit of guess work with your filters. For example, you can create a motion blur filter to create straight lines. After that, use additional filters to isolate these lines to give off the illusion of rain. Even layer blend modes are used here to enhance this effect.
Snow is a weather pattern that can be done easily by setting your brush on splatter. If you need specific snowflakes, you can set the brush head to a custom brush to do this. Otherwise, a simple round brush is adequate enough to draw snow.
Flowers, leaves, trees, grass, etc. have its own textures. These types of drawings will require careful study and attention to detail. Technique wise, it is still similar in that you block out an initial form and then add details to it to create the flora that you want.
The same is with insects and animals. Since there are many different types, studying on what you want to draw is extremely helpful. As well, you may want to study up on what type of environment these creatures flourish in. This will point you in the right direction on what type of flora to draw.
After that, think about perspective. What is the main focus of the composition? How will you isolate a specific element? When should you blur an object and when can you sharpen it to bring it to the foreground? There are many things to consider.
Once that is established, as with all nature drawings, there needs to be a light source so you can further bring the composition to life. Light sources can be drawn in on separate layers so you can play with how light will affect your composition before finalizing it.
While drawing from nature as we see it in the natural world is a popular topic, so can drawing nature in a world that only exists in our imagination. In that regard, fantasy artists take what they know about the natural and add a bit of spice to it to create something that is out of this world.
In a lot of fantasy drawings, the landscape elements that you have explored here takes on a new light. For example, mountains and clouds can be manipulated in a way that looks natural in terms of textures, but completely illogical in terms of natural occurrence.
Even some laws of physics can be bent in order to satisfy the composition. Despite that, one thing that remains consistent is perspective. Any rule of perspective must be followed properly to establish that connection with realism even though some of these elements can't possibly exist.
Juxtaposition is also common in fantasy realistic drawings of nature. There may be man-made objects that seems to blend in with the scenery. Its purpose is to bring out an idea that there is life in the area in a composition.
Whatever environments that you can come up with, good knowledge of the natural world is an experience worth having and practicing as an artist. Otherwise, it's completely OK to reference things on the fly so long as it can be logically thought out.
In closing, realistic drawings of nature helps with a lot of personal artistic development. From textures to perspective, anything that you can draw from the natural world will allow you to critically think about how to draw these elements so you can apply it to drawing other subjects.